About an hour after teaching his fellow graduates of Johanna Boss High School in Stockton the methodology of a “schoolboy knot,” sharply-dressed Valedictorian Ethan Ragan stepped to the lectern inside the OH Close Youth Correctional Facility auditorium, straightened his own tie, and shared even greater insight for success. “Although we have made some mistakes in our past, and have been through some struggles, we have turned a truly negative situation into a positive one by graduating here before you,” he said. “We know that we are not defined by our past, but by our present, and the decisions we make from here on will determine who we truly are.”
What seems to be key to staying fit is exercising and Ventura Youth Correctional Facility (VYCF) opened the Activity/Fitness Center during a recent ribbon cutting ceremony with the objective of making exercise opportunities more readily available to staff in order to help them achieve and maintain their fitness goals.
Volunteers and all their efforts were celebrated on April 27 at Ventura Youth Correctional Facility. A special Volunteer Appreciation Dinner expressed staff gratitude toward those who selflessly volunteer their time teaching, mentoring and encouraging our youth to aim for a bigger, better and brighter future.
The description of a May 14 event at a Johanna Boss High School simply states students “at O.H. Close Youth Correctional Facility in Stockton will show academic growth and project-based learning methodologies, incorporating social and emotional themes in a Service Exhibition.” The youth created outlines for new charitable organizations, laid out planned community construction projects, created superheroes as a computer design project and achieved fitness goals in the gymnasium — all to show what they’ve learned through practical applications. Beneath that, however, was much deeper meaning – giving students the opportunity to be successful in an academic environment. For most of them, it was the first time they had such an experience.
Six months in the making, youth, staff, and community volunteers dedicated the construction of the largest of nine community gardens built on CDCR grounds and the first at a juvenile facility. Work on the half-acre garden at O.H. Close Youth Correctional Facility in Stockton began last October with a core of eight youth which grew to 15 over time, said Tylee Sewell, the lead organizer from Insight Garden Program (IGP), which first installed community gardens at San Quentin in 2002.